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# Avram

Avram is the ORM Lucky uses for handling connections to your database, and wrapping the SQL mapping in a friendly Crystal class. An Object Relational Mapping or “ORM”, is a simple way to translate SQL queries, and table schema in to an easy to use object.

Avram currently only supports PostgreSQL with no current plans to support any other RDBMS. However, Lucky does not require you to use Avram if your requirements are a bit different.

What does Avram mean?

Originally called “LuckyRecord”, the name change was decided because this ORM is not tied directly to the Lucky framework. You could choose to use it in any number of other Crystal frameworks. When deciding the name, we wanted something easily searchable, and meaningful. Thanks to all the suggestions from the community, we landed on Avram.

Henriette Avram was a computer programmer and systems analyst who developed the MARC format the international data standard for bibliographic and holdings information in libraries.

What does Avram include?

Every ORM will have a different pattern, and different set of tools included. With Avram, we took a pattern breaking out where business logic is stored vs. where database queries are handled. This pattern helps to keep code organized by it’s purpose within your application. This includes Models, Queries, Operations, Migrations, and Boxes.

# Models

Avram’s models use classes to map each database table to a specific object. The naming convention for each model is to be the singular word as where the table name is the plural form. (e.g. User model, and users table.).

A model inherits from Avram::Model; however, Lucky will generate an abstract class called BaseModel for you to inherit from. This abstraction layer allows you to apply special callbacks, attributes, or methods to all of your models.

Learn more about models

# Queries

Avram queries are classes that encompass querying the database. Once you have data in your database, you’ll need a way to pull that data back out, and a Query class is that way! The naming convention for these objects is to use the referencing model’s name followed by Query. (e.g. User model UserQuery query).

Query objects inherit from a subclass of the model called BaseQuery. If you create a User model, Lucky will create a User::BaseQuery class for you, and your UserQuery object will inherit from that. (e.g. UserQuery < User::BaseQuery).

Learn more about queries

# Operations

Avram operations are classes used for creating and updating records in the database.

Similar to the Query object, these classes will inherit from a subclass of your model called SaveOperation. If you create a User model, Lucky will create a User::SaveOperation class for you. (e.g. SaveUser < User::SaveOperation). The naming convention for operations is to use an action of what this object does like save a user record. (e.g. User model, SaveUser operation).

Learn more about operations

# Migrations

You can think of migrations like git for your database. These are classes that are scoped with a timestamp to allow you to update your database in versions as well as undo changes that you’ve made previously while keeping track of the order you made them in.

Unlike the other files which live in your app’s src/ folder, these are located in the db/migrations/ folder.

Learn more about migrations

# Boxes

Avram boxes are classes that you can use for generating data quick. The most common use cases are when writing tests for your application, and when seeding your database with some default or placeholder data.

Boxes inherit from Avram::Box and follow the naming convention using the name of the model they reference followed by “Box”. (e.g. User model, UserBox box) You’ll find these located in your app’s spec/support/boxes/ folder.

Learn more about boxes

# Alternate ORMs

Even though Lucky uses Avram by default which only supports PostgreSQL, Lucky does not enforce the use of it. There may be cases where your application doesn’t even need a database (e.g. luckyframework.org).

If you want to take advantage of some of what Lucky has to offer, but your requirements need MySQL, SQLServer, or maybe something like RethinkDB / MongoDB, here’s a few tips to integrating those.

  • Be sure to include the adapter in your shard.yml file
  • Update your config/database.cr file with the new adapter’s configuration settings
  • Still place your models in the src/models directory
  • Avram::Database needs a url setting value, just set the value to something like “unused”
# config/database.cr
Avram::Database.configure do |settings|
  settings.url = "unused"
end

MyOtherAdapter.configure do |settings|
  settings.url = "my_other_adapter_url"
end
  • Place migrations (if necessary) in db/migrations/.
  • Boxes, and Queries are specific to Avram Models, but you can still use Basic Operations.

If your app doesn’t need a database, you should still set the Avram::Database configure setting to some non-empty string. Avram Operations can still be quite useful for things like contact forms, or email subscribe forms.